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Treating ailments with aromatherapy

Some common ailments can be treated with a preparation you can make up yourself.

Sweet itch

Mix: five drops each of lavender, tea tree, carrot seed, yarrow and garlic, then add 100ml of a water-based gel or cream, such as a plain base gel, aloe vera gel, aloe and seaweed gel or calendula base cream.

Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight container. Attach a label saying what is inside and when you mixed it. Apply once or twice daily to the affected area for up to two weeks. If you think you should use it for longer, consult a qualified equine aromatherapist.

Respiratory problems

Blend: 10 drops of peppermint with five drops each of rosemary, tea tree and garlic, then add 50mls of carrier oil. Choose either sweet almond oil (contains vitamins A, B and E and absorbs well), wheatgerm (high in vitamin E), grapeseed oil or sunflower oil. Mix together as for sweet itch.

Apply to the nostrils and along the windpipe once or twice a day for up to three weeks. Again, consult a professional if more oils are needed.

Muscular aches

Mix: 10 drops of peppermint with five drops each of sweet marjoram, rosemary, ginger, lavender and yarrow and blend into a base gel. For this formula, arnica gel is a good carrier.

Tired or sore muscles or muscles in spasm benefit from this blend, however, do not apply it to broken skin.

Mud fever

Blend: 20 drops of tea tree with 10 drops each of lavender and yarrow and five dropsof garlic, then add to 100ml of base gel. Aloe vera and seaweed are best for this mixture. Apply once or twice a day, depending on the severity of the symptoms, for two weeks. If more aromatherapy treatment is needed, consult a professional.

Hot or tired legs

This blend is versatile because the oils can be mixed together in greater quantities. Mix: 60 drops of peppermint with 30 drops of juniper berry and 15 drops each of yarrow and calamintha. Once mixed, store in a 12ml dark glass opaque bottle with a dipper ready for use.

You can either add 40 drops of these undiluted oils to a base gel to make a cooling preparation for topical application, or you can add 40 drops to a bucket of cold water, stir the water and use it to soak leg pads or gamgee.

Then apply to hot or tired legs under bandages for travelling home after a competition, or for about an hour after hard exercise.

Behavioural and emotional troubles

Essential oils are as beneficial for behavioural problems, such as fear, wind sucking, crib biting, barging, headstrong or spooky horses, as they are for physical ailments.

The oils can ease the memory of past trauma, which can be shown as vices. Some of the most expensive oils, such as rose otto, jasmine, violet leaf and neroli are used in preparations, but, as each horse is individual, we advise consulting a qualified equine aromatherapist who will work, with your vet¨s permission, on the behavioural problems.

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